Monday, June 29, 2015

Lessons Learned

Today is probably one of my most exhausting days so far. Aside from the huge amount of fatigue, it's also been a day of learned lessons learned the hard way.

I decided the night before that if I woke up by 6 AM I'd be able to shower early enough to relax a bit more and prepare for the first day of class. I did exactly that but learned a huge lesson this morning because of it. I learned the utmost importance of not forgetting your keys before you leave your dorm. Before I continue, my door self locks, meaning that once it closes, it locks automatically. The moment I stepped out of my dorm, I inspected myself to make sure that I had all my belongings before my shower and found nothing was missing, or so I thought. As I indulged in the warmth of my shower, that's when it hit me- I left my key on the desk. I ended my shower quicker than usual and knocked on the dorm of my RA, Spencer, to tell him about the situation. Spencer called his senior RA and informed that assistance would arrive in around 30 minutes. So there I stood in the freezing hallways with nothing but shorts, flipflops, and a towel. Luckily someone came to unlock my dorm sooner than I thought, so I was back in my dorm by around 7 AM.

Summer Orientation
I met up with my friends Max, Kevin, June, and Nathan in the lounge and we went down to the dining hall to eat breakfast. After our breakfast, we headed down to Columbia's summer program orientation. During our orientation we all received baby blue folders containing our schedule, a campus map, RA trips, and other events. After a long time waiting for the other students to show up, the head of Columbia's outreach programs for secondary schools and gave some "motivation". He encouraged us to go out and explore the city of New York instead of staying in a dorm all day and to try new things while we here. The best motivational segment of his speech I found was his encouragement to push through the homesickness that we might feel on campus. Although his delivery was honestly dry, his word choice really motivated me to push on no matter what.

Fast forward about an hour later and we started to head out to our classes. I took my first steps into Hamilton room 516, and sat in the very first seat in the very front row next to Izabel and Alyanna. Our ConLaw teacher, Michelle Chun, is a JD/PhD candidate in Columbia's Law School and Political Science Department. Michelle has much experience in her field whether it being work in many law firms or a field journalist in Pakistan. I really am impressed with Michelle Chun, as her experience as an Ivy League Scholar (Harvard) and her knowledge of Law makes me feel proud to be a student of hers. 

Today's first morning class was really routine. Student introductions filled most of the hour and after that we were given a ten minute break. We spent the next hour learning the steps necessary in briefing a case and the structure of the US Constitution. As I took notes, I realized that this class is pretty fast paced. It's not like high school anymore where the teacher goes monotonously slow and constantly waits for the rest of the class to catch up- no. The environment is a legitimate college level class with filled with speech and debate champions and high school athletes.

Once morning classes were over, I decided not to head directly to the dining hall but to my dorm. Upon arriving to my dorm, I threw off my backpack and shoes and jumped back in bed. Now this is where I learned lesson number two, I went to bed by 12 noon and awoke at 1:30 PM, meaning that I only had 30 minutes to eat and get to class. I slipped on my shoes, and ran outside. I got lunch with my friends Kevin and Max at the local deli store since the dining hall was overcrowded. Kevin and I ate together in the lounge quickly and stormed out. After getting my backpack and books, I literally ran in an almost full sprint to class. I barely made it, 2:07 PM, only three minutes before class starts. Almost every seat was taken so I made my way to the back of the class. Lesson number two: if you're going to sleep during lunch, keep an alarm on and give yourself enough time to get to class early.

In class, we went more into detail into the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Michelle lectured on each article and section and informed us about their importance and how some come into play during Supreme Court cases. Towards the end of class she assigned us to read four cases regarding the early Supreme Court cases and a list of legal vocabulary. Yep, I'm gonna be up late tonight..

Few hours passed and my friend Kevin and I decided to go for a run to Central Park. Quick intro to Kevin: Kevin is a native of New Jersey and is a cross country and track runner. Anyway, We ran probably a mile to the park and another 2 miles in the park. By 5 PM we decided to run back to get some dinner. This is where I learned lesson number three! After a few minutes we knew we were lost. It was obvious we were somewhere Uptown in the depths of Harlem. For those reading abroad, Harlem is not the best place to be lost in, ever. There was a point during our jog that we had the feeling someone was following us. So we gave a dead sprint back to Central Park and started in a new direction given to us by a friendly New Yorker. We arrived back on campus safely, but we missed dinner, sadly. Lesson number three learned, if you decide to go off campus, know where you're going.

All these lessons learned are just apart of preparation for the real thing. I'm not gonna be staying in the streets of El Sobrante for very long, so all these harsh lessons learned are going to pay off...hopefully. 

So far so good, I like the immense feeling of independence. I don't need to ask for permission to leave or wait to be served. I can finally do whatever I need to do whenever with smaller restrictions and limitations. I need to love it while it lasts, before the homesickness sets in..

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